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Old 04-28-2003, 11:28 AM   #1
CAP
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Default Thoughts on the Kuhmo Ecsta MX?

I do not think my Falken's are going to last the remainder of the autocross season so I am wanting to try the Kuhmo Ecsta MX*. I have read the Tire Rack user reviews and Sport Compact Car had a review about a month ago, which they all seemed to be favorable. I would like to have some thoughts on these tires from some Subaru owners i.e. autocrossing, track days, inclement weather.... I am looking at the 225/45/17 size.

Thanks


(* MX was below the three word minimum and I got tired of reading all of the other "Kuhmo"+"Ecsta" related posts and if there is a way to search for less than three words I do not know how)
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Old 04-28-2003, 11:43 AM   #2
ac64drew
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save your money on bridgestone s0-3's highest rating over any
tires right now..
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Old 04-28-2003, 12:48 PM   #3
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Since you were asking about MX's and NOT Bridgestone S-03's...I'll give my opinion on the Kumho's I am running right now. Although not 17's they are 225/45R16 Kumho MX. I was just out yesterday at a warm dry auto-x session consisting of 6 runs. Wear on the tires were not bad even on the rough terrain. Dry weather performance was pretty good. I can not compare them to Falkens but I can compare them to Advan AO32R. The most noticeable difference was the sidewall, it is noticeably softer on the MX's. That's fine for the street but was a little soft for my liking for auto-x. I pumped the tire pressures up and just didn't push them too hard and they seemed to be ok. I've also had them out at a wet auto-x where I managed the 15th fastest time in my completely stock (except for 4pots) Legacy wagon. They were very good in the rain.

As for street use they are the best street tire I've used to date. I have never tried the "better" street tires like the S-o3's etc as I can't justify spending that much on something that is only gonna last a couple years anyways.

They are nice and grippy, a little soft on the sidewall but one shouldn't be pushinga car that hard on public streets anyways, so no problem. Wet weather performance is very good although I noticed after a couple auto-xes that the performance in the wet diminished slightly. Or it was just an extra slick day the last time I was out.

There were a couple threads about this tire previously and the overwhelming concensus was that for the money this or the Falken Azenis are the best summer/ auto-x street/sometimes race tire out there for the money.
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Old 04-28-2003, 12:50 PM   #4
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I just replaced my well-used S-03 (many track days) with the MX. Haven't done anything track day yet, but it seems to have a higher dry grip level than the S-03. It also doesn't squeal as much when pushing close to the limit, which may or may not be a good thing. I really like the audio feedback from the S-03 on the track. The ride is comparable between the two, so it is likely to be softer than Azenis, any R-compounds, or even Michelin Pilot Sport of S-02.

Haven't hit any rain yet.
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Old 04-28-2003, 02:15 PM   #5
SpinAll4
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Thumbs up Thumbs up on the MX so far.

Havent had a chance to autoX them yet. On the street they have impressed the heck outta me. Running the stock wheels and a 225/50/16 size. Its been raining a bunch here lately and the tires seem to handle it very well. When its been dry, i have been having a ball on these tires.
Overall, its been money well spent. Hopefully they will do me right when its cone time. I suspect they will be very good there.
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Old 04-28-2003, 07:46 PM   #6
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i love my MX's. I've had them on for a few weeks now, with 1 autox event. The grip is outstanding. Wet traction is very good as well, i really had to try to get them to break lose. I've never used the S03's but for the extra money i doubt they are worth it. I highly recommend a set of MX's.
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Old 04-29-2003, 02:31 AM   #7
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I have a set of 225/50/16's as well, and I cant tell you how much my overall grip has improved with these tires compaired to the Khumo 712's I was running before
I just like dont even slow down for corners now and my car doesnt care one bit
The sidewall is a little soft, so initial turn in is slower but thats also to be expected with my 16" rims and the higher profile tire. It would be less noticable with the 45 series 17's, and I'm also running on like 36psi right now I believe, so its soft

And yes, I have had to go through some rather TORENTIAL downpoor at high speeds combined with large puddles. These tires didnt fase one bit I couldnt believe how much grip they still had in the rain despite the large tred blocks... The 3-channel design works wonders.

Excellent tire and for so cheap
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Old 04-29-2003, 05:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by ac64drew
save your money on bridgestone s0-3's highest rating over any
tires right now..
hmmm, that was helpful, albeit vauge and misleading.
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Old 04-29-2003, 11:29 PM   #9
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I can only compare them to the RE92's (in other words, no comparison). But for what it's worth:

Very grippy, as noted by others. Somewhat soft sidewall, ditto. That being said, in my first auto-x with them the confidence they inspired was amazing. In fact, I think I could have driven even more aggressively and will next time.

Mind you, I have 225/50-16s on the stock 6.5" rims. They're a bit pinched which doesn't help with the sidewall flex (even thought the specs on TireRack say they can go as low as 6"). Wider rims are in my future. Increasing front pressure to 42 or 44 lbs made a positive difference. A "performance" alignment with max available camber might help with the rollorver some, too. Will try that soon.

On the street it's like, I haven't seen a corner yet that I can't take at twice the speed with no sweat.

Bottom line: for a good street tire/auto-x tire they are a great buy. If I were competing on a national level in STX I might still prefer to have dedicated Azenis. But I'm not.

We had some snow about a week after I got them. They suck in snow!
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Old 04-30-2003, 02:58 AM   #10
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It would be interesting to see the Tire Rack do a direct comparison of the SO-3 to the MX's. I went with the 215/45/17's on my P7's. I chose them over the Azeni's for several reasons. The MX's outperform the Azeni's in the wet, the Azeni's don't come in a 215 and the MX's are a lot lighter than the comparable size Azeni's (lower rotational mass should have less of an effect on braking and acceleration while giving up on cornering power). After mounting the 215's, I think for the next set I will go with 225's.

In terms of cornering, the improvement over the RE-92's is substantial. The sidewalls of the MX's are much stiff than that of the RE-92's (not saying much). In have the tires inflated to 36# and have not had any problems with sidewall rollover. I did take some friends on a test drive (they wanted to see what my "family wagon" could do) and put the car into a four wheel drift (took a set of esses at about 90 mph). The tires were still too new to really know how well they stick (had about 50 highway miles on the tires) however they seem to stick pretty good (I have track experience with R-compound tires on a 914 with a lightly modified suspension).

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing what they do at an auto-X. Hopefully, I'll be able to run one in the next month or two. As an all around tire (I drove them in the rain for the past few days), they seem to handle quite nicely.
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Old 04-30-2003, 03:32 PM   #11
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Thumbs up

I have run my MX's in 245/40/17 at four Auto-X events so far. The first being pretty wet and they worked fabulously. The last three were dry events and they worked quite well. It is true the sidewalls are that of a real street tire, but at 47psi I have not rolled the front tires over excessively. Even though the current setup on the car was helping me to understeer plenty. I have not experienced any downpours yet, but I am confident these tires will do well. I plan to run the entire season in STX with these and will update as the season progresses.
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Old 05-01-2003, 01:19 AM   #12
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great dry grip, great wet grip (at full tread depth), but I've only had them about 3k miles. According to kumho, they're better than the 712s, even in the wet. They're sticky, the sidewall is not the stiffest, but plenty stiff enough for ANY hard street driving/occasional autocross. they break away pretty gradually, too, so you won't be caught with your pants down.
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Old 05-01-2003, 02:29 AM   #13
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I am sure they are a wonderful tire, but soggy sidewalls make me unhappy. It is one of the biggest concerns when choosing a tire for my car, or bike(bike trials). Stiff sidewalls come at the price of a heavy tire, but I'll stick with my azenis. I have heard wonderful things about the MX's though.
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Old 05-01-2003, 02:47 AM   #14
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Very good tire. Not really in the same class as the S03 so I don't know what this guy ----> ac64drew - was thinking

This tire is a Maximum grip tire. They didn't seem to be to worried about noise or max tread life, like the S03 was. So shutup about the damn S03, I'm sick of hearing about them. They are a great max performance tire if you want them to last a long time and have a nice quiet ride. Personally I don't care about either! But the fact is they are not the stickiest street tire available! So why is it every time someone asks about any tire on here, regardless of what they are asking about someone mentions the S03!!! Oi, dude got me goin' here! The fact is that, yea, my tires won't last as long, but they were half the price! So I will end up spending about the same amount on two sets instead of one, but I'll have a LOT more fun So, on to my review, sorry about the vent. If you want to flame me take it to PMs, no reason to muck up yet another thread just so you can reasure yourself that you bought a good tire (which you did)!

This tire is sticky. When we rolled them off the UPS truck they were picking up sand like race tread! They are an amazing street tire, I have a very hard time getting them to squeel. On the AutoX course I'm not convinced though. I believe the Azenis is a better tire for AutoX after the KDs, but who can afford the KDs? If you need a daily driver tire that does good in the rain then the MX is for you. If you are aren't worried about rain, go with the Azenis. Although, the tire weight issue is a very good point, so keep that in mind!


Track day is tomorrow, I'll let you know how they do!
-Ryan
www.RKPerformance.com
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Old 05-01-2003, 04:48 PM   #15
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You guys keep saying that the sidewalls are soft: soft compared to what? The 712's (which I own)? I'm guessing the MX is better than the 712 in most ways, but if the sidewalls are softer, then I'm looking elsewhere for replacements.
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Old 05-01-2003, 04:54 PM   #16
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At least in 225/40r18 size, my MX's sidewall is about as stiff as S-03 (sorry for bringing up this tire again! ). So, it is softer than tires like Azenis, S-02, Michelin Pilot Sport, etc; but is stiffer than 712.

-Ray
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Old 05-02-2003, 01:58 AM   #17
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I just bumped up my tire pressure from 38psi all around to 41.5 and the sidewall issue is MUCH better. Run higher PSI on these tires and its fine
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Old 05-02-2003, 06:34 PM   #18
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I'll second the higher pressure comment. We started running them at the same pressures as my Azenis (~33psi in front), and they were not so good. Tons of squealing, generally gooey feeling, and terrible turn-in response. I increased them last event by 2 or 3 lbs per run, and ended up at 44psi in front.

They're sooo much nicer with enough air to keep the sidewalls from flopping over. With enough pressure, they seem to have as much grip as my Azenis did. Once they wear in, i expect they will have even more. If you look at the tread pattern, it looks like the center 3 sections are designed to become one huge tread block after about 1/2 the tread is gone.
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Old 05-03-2003, 02:14 AM   #19
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i agree with jeddy. The tread pattern looks as if it will have a larger contact patch as it wears, but that may sacrifice a little bit of the wet weather performance.
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Old 05-03-2003, 02:38 AM   #20
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With everyone reporting tire pressures, just wondering if you could all give the size tire you are running. I am running 225/45/17s and I just tuned the tire pressure front and rear so the tread wear came to the triangle tread markers. I then used suspension to neutralize the cars handling. I ended up with 37 front and 30 rear, and trully I think I could go 2 pounds more up front and maybe even a little less in the rear to maximize contact patch. I'm going to assume those of you speaking of really high pressures are running these on 16s, so probably a 55 series tire. Of course we all know what assuming does, right?

I got a chance to track these tires on Thursday. I say on this 1.2 (?) mile course in Denver, more than 7 laps and the tires need to cool down. They get pretty greasey. Although they do start to peel rubber just like a race tire. Pretty neat!

-Ryan
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Old 05-03-2003, 03:44 AM   #21
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Contrary to popular belief, contact patch for better handling has NOTHING to do with visually inspecting the tire...

You MUST find the right tire pressure via driving the car, as low pressures like you are mentioning RK just cause the tire to roll over and cause the car to understeer. Stop using the "visual" method to tell how the tire is sitting.
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Old 05-03-2003, 12:39 PM   #22
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I'm running 225/50-16 at 44psi. The strange thing is, they appeared to be rolling over the same amount at around 36psi that they are at 44 psi. I was experimenting, and they just kept feeling better the more air i put in (and my runs got faster and faster).

Visually checking for rollover is a good place to start, but it's by no means perfect. That was why we were at 33psi, cause they didn't look like they were rolling over too badly (no sidewall scuffing, just the tread). Imagine my surprise when 10 lbs of air barely affected the apparent rollover, yet greatly improved the grip and feel.
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Old 05-03-2003, 07:53 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kostamojen
Contrary to popular belief, contact patch for better handling has NOTHING to do with visually inspecting the tire...

You MUST find the right tire pressure via driving the car, as low pressures like you are mentioning RK just cause the tire to roll over and cause the car to understeer. Stop using the "visual" method to tell how the tire is sitting.
I agree that you have to drive the car to get a feel for what is working for you, but it is very important to use the visual inspection to determine how much the tire is rolling over. With a new tire this is quite easy or by using window chalk. A pyrometer is of course also very helpful when tuning tires and suspension.
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Old 05-04-2003, 01:57 AM   #24
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Yes, I didnt mean to not inspect to see where the tire is rolling over but some people look at how the car is sitting standing still to tell how the contact patch is contacting the pavement and thats a different story all together.
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Old 05-04-2003, 07:56 PM   #25
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No, I didn't just look at the tire while sitting still, I was refering to rollover after AutoX and what not. But when I had the tires within 2 psi front to rear it was out of control (Oversteer), which is why I now have a 7 psi differential. I could probably still go lower in the rear because I am still not getting wear on the full width of tread back there.

I do have an AutoX school coming up this Saturday so I'm hoping to find a pyrometer to find optimum psi. But the fact is that I also need to increase camber up front which will change all my settings yet again. So hopefully I can do that before saturday. Anyway, I'll try to bump up the pressures a bit and see if what you all say works for me. Right now I am running 37 front 30 rear. I'll go up to 40 front, and maybe around 33 in the rear. I am just worried that I won't get anywhere near the full tread wear in the rear at that point. But it's worth a shot, and will be good to know before Saturday.

-Ryan
21SM
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